Winter Sky The winter sky offers stargazers many beautiful and prominent constellations, with deep sky objects that you can really enjoy. The winter sky offers stargazers many beautiful and prominent constellations, with deep sky objects that you can really enjoy. Winter represents some of the best viewing of the year. This is because the smog and haze that mask the heavens give way to crystal-clear nights, and the night darkness comes much earlier which is essential when observing. Winter represents some of the best viewing of the year. This is because the smog and haze that mask the heavens give way to crystal-clear nights, and the night darkness comes much earlier which is essential when observing. This is a virtual tour of several of the most prominent and spectacular sights that the winter skies have to offer. This is a virtual tour of several of the most prominent and spectacular sights that the winter skies have to offer. As you make your way through click on the links for further information or interesting facts about different objects. As you make your way through click on the links for further information or interesting facts about different objects.
First Stop: ORION Mythology: According to one legend, Orion was the mightiest hunter of all time. One day, he boasted of being able to defeat any animal on earth. His constant bragging was overheard by Mother Earth, who, fearing that he would destroy every creature, sent a poisonous scorpion to sting Orion on the heel and kill him. But Diana, goddess of the hunt, felt sorry for Orion. To honor him, she placed Orion among the stars.
Orion is jammed packed with cool things to see Look for three equally bright stars in a row, which forms Orion’s belt. To the north lies the bright reddish star Betelgeuse — the left shoulder of Orion. His right shoulder is represented by the star Bellatrix. Below the belt are the stars Rigel, representing Orion's left knee, and Saiph, marking his right knee. Stars come in many different colors, and these colors depend on the stars' temperatures. Our Sun is a yellow star and has a surface temperature of about 11,000 degrees. Compare that to blue-white Rigel, one of the hottest stars known. Rigel's surface temperature is about 23,000 degrees At the other end of the scale is red Betelgeuse. Its surface temperature is only about 5,000 degrees. Hanging from the belt of Orion are the dim stars of his sword. The middle star in the sword is not actually a star at all, but a cloud of glowing hydrogen gas called a nebula. (To learn more follow this link) It is know as the Great Orion Nebula. Deep within, hundreds of stars are forming from the clouds that make up this celestial nursery.Great Orion Nebula
Second Stop: Taurus the Bull To locate Taurus, draw a line through Orion's belt and extend it to the upper right. You will come to the bright orange star Aldebaran, marking the Bull's eye. The head of Taurus is formed by a V-shape group of stars nicknamed the Hyades. Imaginary lines extend to two stars above its head to create Taurus's long horns.
For Orion, it seems that there is no rest. Even in the sky, we find the Hunter doing battle again, this time with Taurus the Bull. The story goes that Orion is trying to club the Bull over the head in order to save seven sisters who were kidnapped by Taurus. We can still see the sisters trapped in the sky, formed by the tiny cluster of stars known as the Pleiades. Pleiades.
Mythology: Ursa Major actually means "the Great Bear" and Ursa Minor is "the Lesser Bear”. Zeus, King of the Gods of Mt. Olympus, was always disguising himself to sneak into women's bedrooms. One of these women was Callisto. Zeus’ wife became enraged and turned Callisto into a bear that roamed the forests of Arcadia. One day, Callisto, the bear, came face to face with her son Arcas, who was out hunting., saw what was happening, and quickly turned both mother and son into the constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor. Hera, was still upset over the whole issue, persuaded the Titans, to forbid the two figures from bathing in their waters, so the two constellations never dip below the horizon. Third Stop: Ursa Major and Minor
Ursa Major and Minor The second star from the end of the Big Dippers handle is called Mizar. On a clear night you might see another much more faint star called Alcor. This is a binary star system, this means that each start rotates around each other. Mizar and Alcor.Mizar and Alcor. By drawing a line from the star Merak and Dabhe (the end of the bowl) and extending it to the north, you will come to Polaris, the North Star. End point of the little dipper. Despite popular belief, Polaris is not the brightest star in the sky, but is special because Polaris is apparently motionless from the Earth, and all the stars of the Northern sky appear to rotate around it. PolarisPolaris
The last stop Andromeda Mythology: According to most legends Cassiopeia angered Poseidon by saying that Andromeda was more beautiful than the nereids. Poseidon the god of the sea then sent a sea monster to prey upon the country; he could be appeased only by the sacrifice of the king's daughter. Andromeda in sacrifice was chained to a rock by the sea; but she was rescued by Persues, who killed the monster and later married her.
Andromeda The most famous deep sky object in Andromeda is M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, the most distant object visible to the naked eye. It is an enormous spiral galaxy much like ours To find the galaxy, draw a line between β and μ Andromedae, and extend the line approximately the same distance again from μ. Andromeda Galaxy.Andromeda Galaxy.